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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming

The Computer Audiophile

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Most important: please realize this thread is about bleeding edge experimentation and discovery. No one has The Answer™. If you are not into tweaking, just know that you can have a musically satisfying system without doing any of the nutty things we do here.

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15 hours ago, Blake said:

 

..are you hearing more detail, or the same amount of detail, just presented in a more relaxed manner?

to be more precise, yes more detail and more relaxed..


Tidal Streaming only: ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power stripAqvox 8 port network switch NUC Roonserver (16gb Audiolinux Headless RAMboot, Akasa Fanless case) NUC Roon endpoint (4gb Audiolinux Headless RAMboot, Akasa Fanless case) > USPCB > ISO Regen (Battery powered) > Sonore Ultradigital (powered by LPS-1) > PS Audio Directstream Junior Dac > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > Omega Super Alnico Monitors.

NUCs powered by 2x Paul Hynes SR4s & switch powered by modded Teradak DC30W & LT3045 voltage regulators & PoE Quad Cat DC cables

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1 hour ago, greenleo said:

If your terms are just like massive, terrific, ...  Then I can't see how your statement can be verified or falsified. In this case I find that the terms you used in the original text pretty useless. 

 

Also, anybody's progress can be not massive in your point of view.  This is my point.

 

We are having a hard time understanding each other! 

 

Given the state of affairs regarding DACs, and in spite of what most manufacturers claim, inputs pass garbage to the DAC. The source of this is multiple: power supplies, emi, processing within the computer sources, ethernet, cables, you name it... 

 

This is pretty much accepted, and you can her those differences as long as your DAC does not have so much internal interference that you can no longer distinguish between different sources... 

 

Given the sensitivity of the DACs to these factors:

- to think you can solve them only by meddling with the source is an illusion

- I believe the complexity of factors affecting the signal makes it pretty much impossible to design a perfect source based on PCs

- whatever results you may achieve may not be replicable in someone else's configuration. You may even experiences differences based on the time of day! 

 

Now if you start from a bad source, a really noisy PC, you can apply some of the recipes here and I am sure you will be able to achieve some benefits, but at what costs, and only to a limited extent. 

 

I mentioned some developments on the DAC side which I believe will solve these problems. We will shortly see. Until then, I think this endless quest for the perfect source is just not going to yield any significant results. But be my guest and follow the pack... 

 

 

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5 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

There are scripts pre prepared by Piero and you can reduced the desktop to a black screen with the taskbar and start up and use Jriver as the windows version.

Can you please tell me how to do this? Thanks.

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16 hours ago, tapatrick said:
As several folks got in touch with me curious to hear my opinion, here is my assessment of using the NUC with Audiolinux.
 
Once again big thanks to @lmitche and @romaz!
 
I have a NUC7CJYH running Audiolinux headless in Ramboot set to Extreme mode - no hard drives. This all loads automatically when the NUC is switched on. I put the NUC in a fanless Akasa case which I found makes a noticeable impact on SQ versus the standard case with fan. I have a USPCB/ISO Regen/USPCB between my NUC and DAC. This is powered at 5v ( 8v from modded Teradak PSU into 7.5v then 5v LT3045 regulators)
 
The NUC is powered by a Paul Hynes SR4 using Tubelover2’s discovery of PoE DC cables - in my case with Audioquest Forest Cat7 used for positive and Ugreen flat Cat 7 used for negative. Bios have been tweaked to switch off Wifi, Bluetooth - anything uneccessary that I could find. All of these tweaks add to the final result.
 
A bit of Background:
As we all have different preferences I’ll briefly describe mine. I love intimate, live guitar and singer songwriters - Eva Cassidy, Glen Hansard, Jeff Buckley, King Creosote, Van Morrison stuff like this as well as jazz trios and quartets. Hence my choice of Aqvox Switch, PS Audio Directstream Junior DAC, Decware mono amps and Omega Super Alnicos, as they excel in the kind of music I like. I have found it very hard to achieve satisfaction with treble in voices and have spent a lot of time and money to improve on this (apart from sibilance due to poor quality of recordings which I try to avoid).
 
Seeking a solution and to make use of the I2S slot into my DAC, which I consider the best input, I had researched and built my own Roon I2S endpoint. This is based on a Sparky SBC running customised dietpi - isolated and reclocked with Ian Canada’s McFifo and McDualXO boards and powered by SR4s and modded Teradak DC30 into LT3045 regulators, silver wire etc. I have used this endpoint for the last year or so being very happy with the result. As I invested so much time and effort in this I was so hoping it would still better the NUC...
 
Conclusion
SO….The new NUC set up has moved the goal posts for me in a significant way.. I agree with Larry and Romaz when they say this is end game territory and is based on my trials and listening tests over the past few weeks. 
 
The most striking quality is an ease that is very satisfying. There is a tremendous amount of detail arising in a deep rich black landscape with a more distinct 3D soundstage and well defined individual musicians and instruments. I had enough detail already with my set up but it's the EASE that strikes me the most with the NUC. Emotionally I find this very satisfying and compelling.
 
I’ll probably keep an eye out for how to get I2S out of an NUC and upcoming switches from Uptone etc but this set up is delivering the best sound I have had. The new PS audio OS ‘Snowmass' is coming very soon for my DAC and its getting rave reviews for the Directstream users, so as far as audio goes it can’t get much better than this.
 
Cheers all - back to the glorious music..

Thanks for your report. Great ?

May I ask you, what’s your source? Rooonserver?

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10 minutes ago, hopkins said:

 

We are having a hard time understanding each other! 

 

Given the state of affairs regarding DACs, and in spite of what most manufacturers claim, inputs pass garbage to the DAC. The source of this is multiple: power supplies, emi, processing within the computer sources, ethernet, cables, you name it... 

 

This is pretty much accepted, and you can her those differences as long as your DAC does not have so much internal interference that you can no longer distinguish between different sources... 

 

Given the sensitivity of the DACs to these factors:

- to think you can solve them only by meddling with the source is an illusion

- I believe the complexity of factors affecting the signal makes it pretty much impossible to design a perfect source based on PCs

- whatever results you may achieve may not be replicable in someone else's configuration. You may even experiences differences based on the time of day! 

 

I mentioned some developments on the DAC side which I believe will solve these problems. We will shortly see. Until then, I think this endless quest for the perfect source is just not going to yield any significant results. But be my guest and follow the pack... 

Thank you very much for your reply.  Now I can see better what you mean and I look forward to seeing the DAC coming out that is immune to power supplies, emi, processing with the computer cables, Ethernet cables.  Such a DAC would be a significant breakthorugh (need not care the "..." in your text, this DAC will already be a great DAC).  Let me call it the perfect DAC at the moment.

 

I have followed this thread since its birth and tried some of the experiments, the recent one was the AudioLinux headless running Extreme mode.  I'm a headphone guy and last night when I was listening Hotel California, Eagles, goosebumps came and I talked to myself, "Oh boy, I'm there!".  I consider the progress massive (no pun intended).

 

Even though I know very very little of Linux, I still tried to help other members to try this cheap OS as far as possible.  Because this is easily my best spent $50 in audio.

And I think this is the key spirit in this thread, "share, helping each other, and progress"

 

Personally, I doubt the perfect DAC can exist.  My thought is that a better PS will mitigate the problem due to power supply; a cable with better shielding will mitigate the problem due to EMI; ... This is a clear way to progress because the approach is attacking the root.  To design a DAC which handle all the external factor (let alone the internal EMI of the DAC itself) completely, the DAC  will be very complicated and deadly expensive, up to a point that it is not profitable or only the wealthiest may afford.  I stand corrected and would be happier if corrected.

 

Cheers.

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13 minutes ago, Monge said:

Thanks for your report. Great ?

May I ask you, what’s your source? Rooonserver?

I have an Antipodes DXe server as my Roon server and streaming Tidal

Cheers


Tidal Streaming only: ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power stripAqvox 8 port network switch NUC Roonserver (16gb Audiolinux Headless RAMboot, Akasa Fanless case) NUC Roon endpoint (4gb Audiolinux Headless RAMboot, Akasa Fanless case) > USPCB > ISO Regen (Battery powered) > Sonore Ultradigital (powered by LPS-1) > PS Audio Directstream Junior Dac > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > Omega Super Alnico Monitors.

NUCs powered by 2x Paul Hynes SR4s & switch powered by modded Teradak DC30W & LT3045 voltage regulators & PoE Quad Cat DC cables

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6 hours ago, tapatrick said:

Hi Dave, I didn't remove the wifi card just switched off in Bios, but that might be a good idea to remove.

 

The most difficult part I found was getting the motherboard out.

Yes it certainly seems like Xmas has come early..:)

Just got the Akasa chassis for the NUC. Celeron

If you Tapatrick or others are inclined or bothered! the Block isnt very good. Its just fly cutter milled roughly. Rub a nail across it. Just google 'Lapping a cpu heatsink'. A good CPU heat sink is like glass. + flat.

This makes it flatter for more surface area to transfer heat. Have a look, not that hard.

Remove the cheap silicone grease and apply a carbon TIM like Artic mx4 . 'Non conductive' if you make a mistake.

Screw back in lightly diagonal and tighten for even pressure.

I won't do a guide, IT guys here know over clocking. But simple techniques make the case earn its money. Especially + celeron/pentium chips like i3 i5.  

No over clocking but a cooler cpu. GFX

 

All fun and something else too play with.

Flat is better than super smooth.

Food for thought !!and should help keep it cooler.

Dave

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, sig8 said:

Can you please tell me how to do this? Thanks

Hi, in the expert folder there are scripts such as minimise not persistent which will leave only nomachine and minimise not persistent.sh which disables more services such as network, smb, etc.

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13 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

Beautiful work!  Really nice job squeezing everything into that Takachi case.  Did you have someone local do the mill work for you?

Can you tell us what is housed in the various sections?

Hi Alex,

I thought you would find the case familiar.  Being a one - off, all case mods have been hand drilled, tapped, cut, filed.  The dimensional constraints on the power side come about from the case's previous use to house two LPS1s and a SMPS.  The section with USB cables houses a Sotm Tx USB hub ex and a Iso Regen.  The power side houses three Studer 900 regulated power supplies, each further regulated by Ldover LT3045 boards.  Each supply has its own 30VA Toroidy transformer mounted through the case top lid.

 

Martin.

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I’m personally not into ROON or NUCs for that matter, but this looks like interesting findings by Fidelizer to these eyes. Maybe Linux is not the optimal OS for ROON?

 

http://www.fidelizer-audio.com/lets-exam-roon-rock-os-windows-emulator-in-linux-clothing/


       Auralic Aries Mini, Ariston RD40 & Mytek Brooklyn DAC system

          with Fostex TH900 & Gibson Les Paul 8 reference monitors

                    For detailed info see Audio System and About Me

                                  

  Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others. Graucho Marx

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10 minutes ago, Cornan said:

I’m personally not into ROON or NUCs for that matter, but this looks like interesting findings by Fidelizer to these eyes. Maybe Linux is not the optimal OS for ROON?

 

http://www.fidelizer-audio.com/lets-exam-roon-rock-os-windows-emulator-in-linux-clothing/

Cornan,

 

@Dev got the definite answer on this from Roon development in a post a week or two ago. For the record Mono is a runtime library for the C# language and does not emulate Windows. It allows C# sharp code to execute on Linux so the code is portable between OSes. That says nothing about performance which is likely the same.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 minute ago, lmitche said:

Cornan,

 

@Dev got the definite answer on this from Roon development in a post a week or two ago. For the record Mono is a runtime library for the C# language and does not emulate Windows.

 

Ok, I’m happy you’ve got that covered already! ?


       Auralic Aries Mini, Ariston RD40 & Mytek Brooklyn DAC system

          with Fostex TH900 & Gibson Les Paul 8 reference monitors

                    For detailed info see Audio System and About Me

                                  

  Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others. Graucho Marx

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12 minutes ago, Cornan said:

I’m personally not into ROON or NUCs for that matter, but this looks like interesting findings by Fidelizer to these eyes. Maybe Linux is not the optimal OS for ROON?

 

http://www.fidelizer-audio.com/lets-exam-roon-rock-os-windows-emulator-in-linux-clothing/

 

I wouldn't put much into what he says.  His business is threatened by AL with it's ability to run from memory and all it's optimizations built in.  Personally I never thought much about Fidelizer or for that matter AO for optimizing Windows.  Something you can accomplish on your own.    I've yet to try it out, but at first glance, I'm thinking AL is going to put these guys out of business if it can do all it says.


(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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1 minute ago, ElviaCaprice said:

 

I wouldn't put much into what he says.  His business is threatened by AL with it's ability to run from memory and all it's optimizations built in.  Personally I never thought much about Fidelizer or for that matter AO for optimizing Windows.  Something you can accomplish on your own.    I've yet to try it out, but at first glance, I'm thinking AL is going to put these guys out of business if it can do all it says.

 

Well, I’m not using Fidelizer either right now. The only reason for that is that I do not use a PC. If I did I would certainly use Fidelizer. It have aways improved my SQ despite endless scripts, optimizations, AO and Jplay. 

YM do V though.


       Auralic Aries Mini, Ariston RD40 & Mytek Brooklyn DAC system

          with Fostex TH900 & Gibson Les Paul 8 reference monitors

                    For detailed info see Audio System and About Me

                                  

  Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others. Graucho Marx

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12 minutes ago, Hauser said:

Hi Cornan,

 

If you are still experimenting with power supplies, I can highly recommend the Studer 900 boards.

 

Martin.

 

Is it better then the sigma 11?


Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

Clock modded FS105 v3, Clock modded Isoregen, Lush^2

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3 minutes ago, RickyV said:

 

Is it better then the sigma 11?

Sorry, haven't tried Sigma 11 but for the cost of the board, a very cheap experiment.  I found voltage requirements to be similar to Sigma 11, about 7V drop for regulation.  Also the board takes less space and has two supplies per board.

 

Martin.

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